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In-Car Tool Tech

Stay Off The Hard Shoulder And In The Fast Lane

Staff Report
Jun 1, 2003

We have outlined the virtues of diagnostic tools in great detail, but what do you need on the road? You're not expected to execute turbo upgrades on the side of the Interstate, but there are some critical tools that can keep you off that hard shoulder and in the fast lane; or, better for the karma, help someone less fortunate out of a tough situation.

There are tools you should have in your car 24/7 and there are others tools that can be called into action from the garage, depending on how far your next trek is, where you are going and what you're doing.

Some of the 24/7 variety tools include a socket set, open-end wrenches, screwdrivers, a multimeter, a fuel can and a fire extinguisher. If you have a relocated battery that's temperamental, a portable battery charger makes sense. Know your car and what it needs.

The genesis of this article was the quality and design of Griot's Garage's trick anodized and sheathed 1/2-inch impact sockets. The wheel sockets feature a plastic shroud that protects the wheel from nicks and scratches. Have a sleeper project car that needs to transform from stock to shock? A street/strip car that wears gumballs on the weekends? The bottom line is, with the prices of rims today, the Griot's sockets should be standard equipment for any serious enthusiast. While checking out the sockets, we saw a number of high-quality precision tools that are up to the challenge, whether it be a roadside emergency or regular work from the garage.

Griot's also offers precision torque wrenches that are the perfect match to the sockets. Available in 30 to 150 lb-ft or 45 to 250 lb-ft settings, the Griot's wrenches feature Newton, meter or lb-ft readouts, and sport super smooth mechanisms. Good for wheel mounting, securing cylinder heads and more, this wrench is certified for accuracy.

As far as repair tools go, a set of open-end wrenches and a socket set should be enough. Griot's has this base covered with tools from FACOM, the hand tools of Ferrari's F1 team. The open-end wrenches feature a patented profile for superior contact area. The socket set decision can boil down to size preference. We elected to go with a 1/4-inch drive, and while visiting a friend, this decision paid dividends.

We were taken for a test drive in his just-completed turbo 510 and he popped an intercooler hose. The car limped back to his house and we used the FACOM 1/4-inch drive to tighten the hose once and for all. The set also comes with a 1/4-inch drive screwdriver and regular and Phillips screwdriver bits. You may want to supplement this with a 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch drive socket set for bigger jobs.

The finishing touch is a purpose-built bag to stow it all in. Griot's has two: a smaller 16x2.5x5 trunk bag (pictured) and a larger 19x12x15.5 trunk organizer. The latter is good if you plan to carry a battery jumper pack and/or mini air compressor.

It's easy to lose yourself in the Griot's Garage catalog, but the key is to look at the big picture, consider the weaknesses of your car and make logical tool choices.


Griot's Garage
Tacoma, WA 98409
J.C. Whitney
By Staff Report
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